HITS Thermal Makes Significant Improvements to Footing
RELEASE: January 2, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Joanie Morris
HITS was represented by President and CEO Tom Struzzieri and Dale Harvey of the West Coast Management Team. Zone 10 members were represented by West Coast Active Riders Board Chairman Bernie Traurig and President Will Simpson. Sally Ike, Managing Director of Show Jumping, Leigh Anne Claywell, Director of Competitions, and Allen Rheinheimer, the USEF’s footing expert for this project, served as the USEF representatives.
Bart Poels, who is the footing specialist for the 2008 Olympic Games and has been hired to oversee the footing at all HITS-owned properties nationwide, was at Thermal previously in the week to ensure that the footing was satisfactory
Various riders, including Grand Prix competitors Simpson, Mandy Porter, and Joie Gatlin, rode several horses over a modified course designed to test the integrity of the footing.
"The test went great," said Rheinheimer. "We saw great results and found out just what we needed to know. With a little tweaking, HITS is moving forward in perfect condition. They've done a masterful job."
"I was confident that this test would demonstrate that any footing concerns are now behind us, and today we did just that," said Struzzieri. "Working together with the West Coast Riding Community has been an important part of our preparations for the 2008 season. We met in early spring to highlight our plans and goals, and agreed to reconnect prior to the start of the circuit for this purpose. I feel the collaboration worked and I look forward to continuing the momentum we've started."
Traurig, who has been closely involved throughout the improvement process, was impressed with the results.
"After extensive testing, the footing at Thermal looks like its going to be great,” said Traurig. “Riders and Management both agree that with some tweaking, by adding fibers between now and the start of the circuit, the footing will get even better."
"We are very pleased with the outcome for several reasons", said John Long, United States Equestrian Federation CEO. "First it further demonstrates Tom's commitment to make Thermal a world class competition venue and second was the collaborative effort that made it all work. I would personally like to thank Tom, Bernie, Allen, Sally and Leigh Anne for their efforts".
The 2008 HITS Desert Circuit kicks off on January 9, 2008 with two new weeks of shows, the Desert Circuit Premiere, before January 22 start to three consecutive weeks of shows. There is no showing the week of February 11-17 and the HITS show continues for four more weeks February 19 through March 16 where 17 championships will be offered including the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix of the Desert.
For more information please contact Leigh Anne Claywell, USEF Director of Competitions at email@example.com.